University of Alabama football is one of those things that people in the South love or hate. Whether or not you’re an Alabama fan, there's no denying that they have their own football culture, which includes tailgating traditions and quirks. Many other colleges have similar tailgating atmospheres, but there are some things that only happen at an Alabama tailgate. Did we leave out any of your favorite Alabama tailgate traditions?
In addition to crimson and white, you’ll find an adopted “team pattern” at most tailgates. Houndstooth is the black and white checkered pattern that covered Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s famous game day hat, and it now covers all of Tuscaloosa on game day. While you’ll see houndstooth hats, dresses, shoes, jewelry, pants and other clothing items, you can find just about anything in houndstooth at an Alabama tailgate, like cups, plates, napkins, tablecloths, flags, and more.
Some Alabama fans decorate their tailgates just as nicely as their homes. Walk around the Quad on game day and marvel at tailgates with giant chandeliers, flat screen TVs made for home theaters, silver serving platters, and incredible grills and smokers. Alabama fans don’t mess around when it comes to tailgate presentation.
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The signature drink at any Alabama tailgate is the Yellowhammer, named after the state bird. While Gallettes bar in Tuscaloosa is home of the original Yellowhammer recipe (you can still snag a sticker that says “I Got Yellow Hammered At Gallettes” if you order one on game day.), many people make homemade Yellowhammers for their tailgates. Be careful — too many Yellowhammers and you won’t be able to sing “Rammer Jammer” by the end of the game.
Barbecue is a staple for any tailgate menu, and Alabama tailgates are no exception. Although many fans prepare their own barbecue at the tailgate, Alabama has tons of local barbecue joints that offer easy packages for serving crowds. Dreamland BBQ, Full Moon Bar-B-Que, Archibald and Woodrow’s BBQ (known as “Archibald’s” to locals), Jim ’N Nicks BBQ, and Moe’s Original BBQ can all be found at Alabama tailgates across campus. And if you’re not eating barbecue at a tailgate, you’ll want to stop at the Big Bad Wolves stand that sets up on “The Strip” every game day for some Tuscaloosa-famous BBQ nachos.
Whether or not a tailgate features barbecue as its main dish, you can bet that an Alabama tailgate will be full of Southern food like Wickles and Conecuh sausage or pimiento cheese and potato salad. Save room for dessert because many tailgates will include a host of sweet options, including Coach Nick Saban’s favorite: oatmeal creme pies.
Game Day Buttons and Stickers
You’ll see game day buttons and stickers at most college tailgates, but a design that’s unique to the University of Alabama is one that reads “Beat Everyone,” as only Alabama football fans would be confident enough to sport those stickers. Some fans choose to sport a “Beat Auburn” button or sticker every game day (yes, even when the two teams aren’t playing), because rivalries in SEC football don’t just last one weekend.
The Whole Family
Even though this goes for many colleges, the University of Alabama football culture is very family-oriented. An Alabama tailgate is sure to have multiple generations in attendance, as many Alabama fans bring their children and even babies to Tuscaloosa for game day. Often, season tickets and tailgate spots on campus are held by the same family and passed down.
You might even see a “House Divided” sign at a tailgate, which means that one parent is an Alabama fan and the other parent is a fan of another SEC team (possibly even Auburn). If the couple’s kids aren’t already in college, assume there’s a constant battle over which school the kids will attend, which colors the kids will wear on game day, and whether or not the baby will say “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” first. There may even be bets involved, and one parent may be forced to visit the opposing school to visit their child (but they’ll never, ever wear the colors).
Taking a stroll on the Walk of Champions? “Roll Tide.” Throwing a football on the Quad? “Roll Tide.” Got tickets in The Zone? “Roll Tide.” Chugged a beer? “Roll Tide.” Having that first bite of barbecue? “Roll Tide.” Loving your outfit today? “Roll Tide.” Got engaged/pregnant/married/divorced? “Roll Tide.” Bounced back from your hangover? “Roll Tide.” Smiled today? “Roll Tide.” Blinked? “Roll Tide.” Woke up this morning? “Roll Tide.”